Distribution Roundup: Brewers Grow in Different Directions

This week saw brewers big and small grow in a number of different directions, as one well-known brand expanded distribution in an established market away from home, while a smaller brewery took its first steps outside of its state’s borders.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co., the nation’s 16th largest craft brewery, according to the Brewers Association, has inked an agreement with Del Papa Distributing Co. for coverage in Southeast Texas. Del Papa will distribute the Paso Robles, Calif.-based brewery’s brands — which include the popular Jack series — throughout 17 counties, in 6-packs and on draft, beginning this week.

“The partnership between a brewery and wholesaler is extremely important in the Texas market, so we have chosen carefully,” said David Walker, co-founder of Firestone Walker, in a press release. “Del Papa Distributing is engaged and committed to high standards, beer culture and family enterprise, qualities my partner, Adam Firestone, and I value greatly. It’s good to be working with like minds and good to have our beers in Southeast Texas.”

Rodney Norrell, brand development manager at Del Papa added that Firestone fits well in a marketplace driven by consumers that are “looking for high-quality craft beers.”

“Firestone Walker’s brands are highly sought after and we’re proud to begin offering them to craft beer lovers in Southeast Texas,” he added.

While Firestone grows within familiar borders — it began distributing in Texas in January of last year — Wisconsin Brewing Co. is making its first foray out of its home state and into neighboring Illinois, per an agreement with the OneIllinois network.

The Verona, Wis.-based brewery, which opened its doors in November, 2013, has signed on with the cluster of nine MillerCoors distributors for distribution throughout the Chicagoland market.

OneIllinois’ members include Burke Beverage, Chicago Beverage Systems, Euclid Beverage, Hayes Beer Distributing, Chas. Herdrich Distributing, Kloss Distributing, Kozol Bros. Distributors, Joseph Mullarkey Distributors, and Town & Country Distributors.

“As part of this exclusive introduction, Wisconsin Brewing Co.’s launch will target a select number of 80 different craft accounts with draft-only offerings of Porter Joe,” according to Rebecca Pray, Town & Country’s vice president of marketing.

Meanwhile, Sawtooth Brewery, of Ketchum, Idaho, has partnered with BRJ Distributing, which will be responsible for bringing the brewery’s beers to Boise and Southwest Idaho, beginning May 1.

The initial releases will include False Summit Amber Ale Freeheeler Rye IPA, the spring seasonal Sunnyside, and the brewery’s rotating IPA series, which includes Green Wagon Sage IPA and Tandem Double Rye IPA. BRJ will also distribute the brewery’s cask and nitro offerings. In addition to the draft offerings, BRJ will also carry 22 oz. bottles of select offerings, according to a statement released by the company.

Watkins Distributing sells the brand throughout the rest of the state, except in Wood River Valley, where Sawtooth self-distributes.

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